Wrong Ways to Create Salesforce Fields for Marketo

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Suddenly, Marketing wants to start capturing a person’s favorite color or the size of the person’s company.  You are not a genie and can’t guess the color, so you need to create a field to start capturing that data via a form. Relatively simple, right? I’ve seen this 5-minute project turn into weeks.

Today, I’ll dive into how to avoid common pitfalls when syncing new Salesforce fields to Marketo. I’ll also share some exact language you can use with your Salesforce Administrator to ensure your new field creation goes smoothly.

Common Field Creation Pitfalls

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In order for a field like Favorite Color to show up in Marketo and Salesforce, it is a standard best practice to create the field in Salesforce first (and then it will appear in Marketo several minutes later).

These below issues are like a broken record that I see happen often. Resources on how to address are below:

1) Fields are created on the Lead object but not on the Contact object.

End result: Limited visibility for Sales. Data won’t convert to the Contact record when the Lead coverts to a Contact.

2) Fields are created on the Contact object but not on the Lead object.

End result: Limited visibility for Sales. Data won’t be available on the Lead record in Salesforce.

3) Fields are created but not mapped.

End result: Marketo treats the fields as two separate ones, meaning that if you put Favorite Color on a form,  only one of those fields will get updated.

4) A field is the wrong format (e.g. picklist rather than a date field)

End result: You may need to change this later, which can cause loss of data.

5) Field is not visible in Marketo.

End result: Marketo can’t see the field so you can’t add it to forms or use it in any manner.

6) Field does not have proper Write permissions.

End result: Any changes made in Marketo won’t push over to Salesforce. So if you update Favorite Color from blue to red, Salesforce will reject it.

If any of these things happen, things will be a little off in Marketo. If you start to use those fields incorrectly, unraveling that issue later on can result in the creation of new fields, backfilling of data and more. It’s a hassle you’d rather not go back and forth on with Marketo support and/or your Salesforce Administrator.

Prepare for Marketo-to-Salesforce Success

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In many companies, the creation of fields lies with the Salesforce administrator. The Salesforce administrator usually sits in Sales operations and has a Sales focus. In other words, supporting the needs of Marketing is usually secondary.

Translation: You must make it easy for your Salesforce administrator to do what you need or risk being put on the back burner. Don’t be vague in your requests.

Tip: Make sure the Contact and Lead records in Salesforce are mapped to one another–and that those fields are visible to the Marketo user with the proper permissions.

Sample Text to Write to your Salesforce Admin

When you ask your Salesforce administrator to create a new field in Salesforce, just use the below language which I’ve probably written dozens of times. It saves a bunch of back and forth. Feel free to customize to your own marketing automation platform.

Dear Salesforce Admin Rockstar:

Marketing is working on a project which requires a new Salesforce field. Can you please create a field called Favorite Color.

  1. Make sure to create the field on both the Contact and Lead objects.
  2. Make sure they are mapped to one another.
  3. The fields need to be visible to the Marketo user with proper write permissions.
  4. The field type should be fill in info here (Add any specifics around field type like Date, Text, Picklist, etc).
    • For the FavoriteColor, example…..The field type should be a picklist with Red, Blue and Green as choices and NULL as the default.

Thanks so much. Please let me know when this is complete so I can check the availability of the fields in Marketo.

If you need any guidance, check out these Marketo Field Sync Instructions.


Although not covered here, you might want to mention if the field should be placed on the Lead and Contact page views that the Sale team sees. If so, indicate where the fields should go on those pages.

Don’t Forget to Check Your Fields in Marketo

After confirming the fields were created in Salesforce, always double-check that the fields map over properly to Marketo by going to the Field Management choice in the Marketo Admin and choosing the field in question.

Marketo Field Mapping

Here, we see that the Inquiry Date field maps to both the Lead and Contact records as desired.

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Josh Verrill

Services: Strategy, Assessment, Ongoing Services

“RevEngine Marketing has helped Dyn reach amazing results. Within 60 days, REM helped Dyn establish repeatable best practices to improve marketing efficiencies over 50%. That enabled our business owners to focus on the business, not on our system.
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